the tale begins last fall/winter, as i prepared myself for the great graduate school search. i did the research, took the necessary tests, and decided on 5 different schools. i did not do well on my physics GRE the first time around, and did not have time to retake it before the deadline for the applications. because of this, the only school i got into was my "back-up" school. it didn't really have the program i wanted, and the name isn't up there with the ivy leagues... but i was still excited, as they offered me a full ride scholarship, plus $10,000 a year for an assistantship. all through the spring and up to about a month ago, i thought i was all set. in 2 more years, i would have my masters and i would remain debt-free throughout all of my educational training.
now comes the antagonist to this little story... i am in love. my boyfriend and i have been together for about 4 years now. we have gone through a lot of bad times, but only to come to this amazing place where we are now... completely in love, loving each other more every minute, and ready to start our "real lives" (life after college) together. we have been living together for a year now, and it has seriously been one of the best years of my life.
it had been our plan that he would follow me wherever i went to graduate school. he put out job applications very early in the summer, only to be met with rejection or no word at all. his profession is one the requires immediate training out of college, or else it becomes exceedingly more difficult to find a job later down the line. he needs this on-the-job experience... now (i.e. it really can't wait 2 years, if it can be avoided).
this has prompted me to have to make the decision... graduate school or love. safety/security in my educaitonal/professional life or the happiness that comes along with being with someone i can see myself growing old with.
i know many of you may think "just separate for the 2 years and then get back together" or "do the long distance thing." but the "bad times" i mentioned earlier do not make these options very viable. we have done the long distance thing, and it does not work for us. and as for planning to separate only to rekindle our love later, i don't think that would be fair to either of us... as so much can happen in 2 years.
if i were to not go to graduate school next year, i would have plans to enrich myself and my professional life in other ways, such as studying for and retaking the physics GRE, so as to maybe increase my odds of getting into the graduates program that really wowed me (as opposed to just my "back-up") in a few years (after the boy gets the necessary experience). i would also volunteer at museums (which is where i want to someday work), read astronomy/planetary science books in my free time to continue my education on an individual basis, and gain other marketable tools (like learning html). i can turn it into something positive and productive. but i worry about not having that professional security that a masters degree would give me. it is also inevitable that i would have to get a part-time job... probably an unsatisfying one for someone who has just graduated from college cum laude with a degree in physics. i worry that my self-worth might take a tumble.
but i would not be happy at graduate school if he were not by my side. and life is about being happy, right? i mean, do i take this risk of letting graduate school go (and that job security), so that i can be with the man i love?
everyone i have talked to thus far has said that they do not envy this decision i have to make...
so, where would you go? what do you think?
p.s. there are so many details and asides to this story... and i am very worn down... so if you're confused, or think something doesn't make sense, just ask... there's a good chance i left something out.
he's sleeping behind me. i think it's time i join him...